SONG LOGIC - my new book!|
An Ridire Risteard
There's so much poetry inherent in the idea of the child fathering the man (which I think actually stems from Wordsworth's poetry) that I've always regarded this song as a key moment in Wilson's musical and personal life: the moment he turned away from the surf/beach/youth formula of the Beach Boys and really found himself artistically. To first-time father Brian, as he was at the time, children represent the death of one's own youth, but also a reconciliation of sorts, of youth matured and defined, which observes, as though for the first time, the generosity of innocence in the child. It's an idea expressed slightly differently but with similar idea-power by Andy Partridge: "Now the son has died, the father can be born". It certainly lends a philosophical weight to the abstract poetry of the lyrics. Again, the child-child-child motif and sustained backing vocals render the song and the poetic movement complete.The article misses the subtle point that though some of the tunes sound incredibly childish/naff, part of the album’s essence is to make music even kids can relate to in a way. The Song for Children, the fun of Barnyard, the whistles and vegetables, the chalk and numbers of recess hopscotch, the tear rolling down the cheek, even Fire. Kids can interface with this stuff emotionally. This makes Surf’s Up slightly more poignant, vis the thesis that this song expressly farewells Brian’s youth. It also misses the superior version of Heroes & Villains on the Hawthorne disc, which a colleague said sounded like 'being attacked by a choir singing a Beach Boys song.' The new album version, in trying to cover too many bases (and its less effective vocal mix) wavers in comparison. Also, it misses the fact that humour plays a decisive role in the sequencing — take the workshop sounds mending the broken heart in the third suite, which then segues effortlessly into the healthy Vega-Tables. It doesn’t always wedge so neatly, but listen again to Master Painter/Sunshine: the effect or context is somehow made bigger before effortlessly drawling into the up Cabin essence. Also, the article could’ve mentioned the unnecessary addition of Good Vibrations, which in retrospect smacks of hedge-betting and an insecurity that Smile itself might not be enough or simply too weird musically not to have at least one bona fide/tested hit.
02/04 03/04 04/04 05/04 06/04 07/04 08/04 09/04 10/04 11/04 12/04 01/05 02/05 03/05 04/05 05/05 06/05 07/05 08/05 09/05 10/05 11/05 01/06 02/06 03/06 04/06 05/06 06/06 08/06
Alternatively, read about it at: The Slow Review or the long blog. Or even Nurture Health